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Eleanor McCain’s “OIL STAINS”, a body of work composed of hand-dyed and stitched contemporary quilts, will be the featured in the first exhibition of the Spring semester in the Fielding Wright Art Center Gallery at Delta State University. Opening on Thursday, January 17 with a public reception from 5 – 7 p.m., the artist will give a gallery talk and answer questions at 5:30 p.m.
McCain is a practicing internal medicine physician in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Although her career has been in science, she has always sought a creative outlet. Beginning in 1994, McCain began focusing on the art quilt as her chosen form. Says the artist, “The need to create is an integral part of the human condition, manifest differently from individual to individual, but necessary for a fully realized experience….Creativity is not product but action, the exploration of ‘making’ as a search for beauty and perfection. Creativity is also spirituality, a search for meaning and insight into ourselves and our place in the universe.”
McCain comes naturally to quilting from a lineage of family members who practiced the art form, but her own work expands the idea and the practice. She honors the tradition of quilt making by noting that “quilting is grounded in American history, family, community, and common experience. (They) are a living document expressing artistic, emotional, and spiritual values, partially these of women.” Function and symbol, art and craft, and expressed ideals about creativity and community are materialized in the hand-dyed fabrics and stitching. Cut in an improvisational manner, the pieced quilt is machine-stitched without marking the quilt and using a single needle and two or three cotton threads to enrich the surface.
Since her beginnings in the mid-1990s, McCain has been an exhibitor in Quilt National five times and was a juror in 2011. Her works can be seen in numerous public and private collections including the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC. She lectures frequently on the art quilt and has been featured in publications such as Southern Living, FiberArts Design Book Six and Seven, 500 Art Quilts, Shuttle, Spindle, and Dyepot, among others and on the cover of American Craft.
The community is cordially invited to attend the opening reception and gallery talk and view the exhibit from January 17 – February 22. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. For additional information, please contact the Delta State University Art Department at 662-846-4720 or www.dsuart.com .